Read: John 19:16-30
After this, Jesus knowing all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.John 19:28
Two words in verse 28 comprise the fifth saying of Jesus on the cross: I thirst. This is another one of those great and wonderful statements out of the Bible that we preachers feel almost reluctant to approach and to preach from. This is a most deep and mysterious thing, that on the cross the Lord Himself would say, I thirst. He who made the great Amazon, the greatest river in the world, and all the oceans and seas and every little stream and river and lake and creek He who is the source of every drop of water on earth, while dying on the cross, said, I thirst. Two words in the English translation and only one in the Greek New Testament, I thirstyou certainly would never find a more comprehensive test than this.
Just think about it; just pitch you mental tent upon it. The more you think, the more comprehensive it becomes. I thirst is expressive. It tells us so much about Jesus and His love and His plan of salvation for is. It is tragic enough to make us weep. If you can sit and hear the Scripture read about Jesus’ dying on the cross, robed in blood and crowned with thorns and not be moved, then I pity you.
It is a tragic verse; it is a searching verse; it is a tender verse; it is and instructive verse.
Five simple truths have come to my heart as I studied this and other Scriptures throughout the Bible related to this fifth saying of Jesus on the cross.
1. I thirst a Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy
This saying of Jesus is another fulfillment of Bible prophecy. We cannot put too much emphasis on the fact that the death of Jesus was according to Scripture and that everything about His death on the cross of Calvary was just as God planned it. Three verses make us know that beyond any doubt.
In John 10:17 and 18, Jesus said, I lay down my life, and I have power to take it again Don’t think of Jesus as a martyr. Don’t think that Jesus died because He was forced to die. When He said, I have power to take it again, He proved it. Jesus didn’t have to die. He died because He mean’t to, He planned to. He said more than once, For this hour came I into the world. So the death of Jesus was not accidental or something that God didn’t expect, but the Lord planned it. Before He ever hung a star in the sky, sun, moon, or earth; before God ever made anything, He planned that Jesus would die for your sins and mine. Read Revelations 13; there verse 8 says, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. So before the foundation of the world was ever laid in the mind, heart and the counsel of God, Jesus, His Son was already slain.
I was a Christian a good many years and a preacher of the Gospel, before the glorious truth came to me that the death of Jesus was all according to a pattern, a divine blueprint, all according to the counsel and will of the eternal God. Everything man did, God was letting him do to make the wrath of man to praise Him.
Paul , when he was trying to explain what the Gospel is to the Corinthians, in chapter 15 of his first Epistle, in verse 3, said, how that Christ died for out sins Should we stop there? Oh, no! This Bible says He died for our sins according to the scriptures. What Scriptures? Start at Genesis and read through the Bible; again and again you will read how God planned the death of His Son. So when Jesus, on the cross, cried in the midst of His awful suffering and anguish, I thirst, it was another fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Way back in Psalm 69 we read two prophetical expressions: In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drinktalking about Jesus. And, I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried. So Psalm 69 prophesied that, in the midst of His death, Jesus would cry, I thirst. That leads me to this text: After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished. As far as I can tell, everything about His death had been fulfilled except this thing and two others when He would commend His Spirit to God, and when He would cry, It is finished. This verse says, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that is , one Scripture after another had already been fulfilled. Sixteen Bible prophecies had already been fulfilled in the death of Jesus up to this point. When He cried, I thirst, already sixteen glorious prophecies had come to pass. His betrayal.being forsaken by His disciples the false accusations His silence before His accusers gambling for His garments dying between two thieves praying for them as He died buried in a rich man’s tomb all fulfilled in the death of Jesus just as the Bible said.This means here is a Book upon which you can absolutely depend. The more I study Bible, the more I am amazed at its accuracy. Nothing irritates me more and tries my patience more than for somebody to cast reflection on the Word of God. Nothing gets me standing on my two hind legs more than to heat someone raise a question as to whether or not that Book is the eternal Word of God.
Brother, whatever that Book says is the Word of God. I may not always be able to explain exactly what it says and I know I shall not always understand what it says, but I’m convinced that his Scripture is given by inspiration of God and the Book came right from the very mouth of God Himself. But you would be surprised at how many do not believe that this Bible is the Word of God.
A young man came to see me who has had the experience that a lot of folks are having today. The most critical year of a young man’s life when he is a sophomore! If any of you are sophomores, wither in high school or college, for goodness’ sake get on both knees when you pray, because you are going to need prayer and much prayer.
This young man had a nice attitude, was kind and reverent. His professors had been saying some things that seemed to contradict what the Bible taught. The same story, every time you hear it; it follows a pattern. It goes back to the book of Genesis. There old Satan came in the Garden of Eden and said, Yea, hath God said?
The first thing the Devil did when that subtle one walked in that Garden was to draw a question mark in the minds of Adam and Eve as to whether God meant what He said. This young man went back to the creation of the world and he said that scientists think that it might have taken place some other way. Of course I knew what he was going to say. Scientists say that there was a gaseous explosion and out of it all, the earth came to be. The biggest fool in the world is one who could believe that out of a gaseous explosion came all these miracles of God’s creation. When you come to the matter of creation where this earth came from and where you came from I believe what the Bible says. The biggest bunch of tomfoolery that has ever been written is the so called theory of theistic evolution. You talk about monkey business! It teaches that we evolved upward from a lower form. I read in my Bible where God said, Let us make man. And God made man in his own image. Do you believe that the image of God looked like an ape? Oh, what blasphemy! In Darwin’s Origin of the Species, over eight hundred times he said, I suppose, or its equivalent.
Here is a Book that does not say, I suppose. It says that we can know. I believe the Bible. Many of you young people go to a school where this old Book never is attacked; where it is defended as the eternal Word of God. If you young people are ever exposed to a Ph.D. Who has no better sense than to deny the truth if God’s holy Word and especially the book of Genesis, just remember that this old Bible has proven itself. Ever since the very first word of it was written, it has been burned at the stake; it has been sunk at sea; it has wars fought about it; it has been soaked with blood. Kings have set themselves against it. Whole empires have set out to destroy it. But here it is tonight. No wonder Jesus said, Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my word shall never pass away.
Let me read you something said about the Word of God by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is call the Right Reverend Michael Ramsey. The bitterest attack against the Bible and against Jesus does not come from the slums or the gutter, but from high places.
For we wrestle not against the flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
There is more darkness in pulpits than in anything in the world. The Archbishop of Canterbury said about the creation of men: It’s the story of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. There is no necessity for a Christian to believe it to be history. Indeed, there is reason why it cannot be literal history. [In other words, it couldn’t have happened like the Bible says.] There is no need to suppose that primitive mankind was perfect. [He sees no reason to believe that Adam was perfect.] The fall, as Christians call the disaster [In God’s name, I wonder what he would call it!] need not have been a crash from primitive perfection. That has indeed been, not only the emergence of our race from an animal ancestry, [Do you hear that? We come from monkeys, and I’m inclined to believe he did!] but the genuine moral and spiritual progress of our race. [In other words, we are getting better and better. One of these days according to him, we will get so good that the Lord can’t stand Heaven any longer without us and He will come after us.] Don’t you ever believe that. But this is what some say about the Bible. This saying of Jesus is just another wonderful proof that this Bible has a most beautiful pattern. And in this Bible, the Old Testament reaches over into the New and the New reaches back into the Old and everything dovetails. There is not one error, not one mistake. It’s grand and glorious, harmonious pattern. And I believe every word of it. Like the old preacher said down South, I believe it from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and I even believe HOLY BIBLE on the back.
Oh how we need to love the Bible as Jesus loved it! He wanted to be sure everything was fulfilled. Knowing that all things were accomplished Jesus kept in mind there was a countdown. Once was fulfilled, then another, and another, and another until He got down to where only two or three were left and knowing that all things were now fulfilled He saith, I thirst. In substance, Jesus said, I want it to come to pass just exactly like God’s Book says.
Jesus loved the Scriptures. When they would talk to Jesus, He would answer them, What saith the scripture? It is written; Have ye not read? He always referred to the Bible. Jesus loved the Bible. And every question raised about this Bible is a question raised about Jesus Christ. 2.I Thirst a Demonstration of His Humanity
I see from this cry of Jesus, I thirst, a demonstration of His humanity. Something we don’t hear much about is the humanity of Jesus. We talk much, and rightfully so, about the deity of Jesus, but there was in Jesus a perfect union of both deity and humanity. First Timothy 3:16 says, the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." Incarnation means that there was perfect deity and a perfect human body combined into one. That'’ what the virgin birth entails; that’s what incarnation means. And Jesus crying I thirst, is another proof that Jesus was human.
The things that happen to Jesus, happen to you and me the same way. For instance, Jesus got tired. The body of Jesus was subject to fatigue. We read in John 4:6: being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. Jesus was hot and tired. He perspired and sat on the well to rest. Jesus’ body hungered for food just like yours and mine do. After forty days in the wilderness without bread and water, we read in Matthew 4:2, he was afterward an hungered. Beautiful it is to me that Jesus knew what it meant to crave food. Beautiful it is to me that Jesus knew what it meant to crave sleep. When the old storm was raging on the boat, we read in Mark 4:38, And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow. Since a little baby, that may be the only pillow Jesus knew anything about.
He said, Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. But on the vessel on the stormy sea, they found Him asleep with His head on a pillow. He was tired, He got hungry, and He craved sleep.
Jesus wept just like you and I weep (John 11:35). He knew what it meant to be happy. Luke 10:21: Jesus rejoiced in spirit. He had all the emotions you and I have except one, and I’ll mention that in a moment.
Yes, Jesus knew what it was to get angry. In Mark 3:5 we read, he had looked round about on them with anger. It is no sin to be angry if you are angry at the right thing. A person ought to be angry with the Devil and with sin and with wrong. It is a sin for one to lose his temper, but the Bible says Jesus looked about them with anger.
Jesus had a human body; He knew what it meant to get thirsty. And here on the cross He cried, I thirst.
Now here is the exception with Jesus. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb.4:15). Jesus’ body craved food, thirsted and hungered, but He never sinned. He had a perfect human body. This illustration is not irreverent. It is very homey and expresses what I am thinking. It is sad that one stormy night a mother sent a little girl up the stops to bed. Thunder was rolling, lightning flashed, the rain came in torrents. She kept calling her mother up the steps because she was frightened. Finally the mother said, Dear, don’t be afraid, for Jesus is here in this room with you.
Then as the little girl hugged her mother even tighter, she expressed the longing of my heart and yours when she said, I know Jesus is here, but Mama, I want somebody with skin on him. She meant, I want somebody with a human body, with warmth and feeling, one who can be touched.
Thank God, that’s why Jesus came! He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He walked in every step you and I are called upon to walk in. When you are sick, remember that Jesus knew what it was to have a feverish brow on the cross. When you go to an open grave, remember that Jesus stood at one and wept. Sometimes when I get so weary I can hardly put one foot in front of the other, I remember that Jesus got tired. He had a human body. I’m glad He did. It makes me know that He sympathizes with me in every step of my life. 3. I Thirst--a Love Insatiable I see from this cry an insatiable love. When Jesus cried, I thirst, I think He thirsted for more than water. The Bible says, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. That thirst involved more than a drink of water. When Jesus cane to that well as recorded in chapter 4 of John and met the woman at the well, He sat there tired and dusty from a long journey. He said to the woman there, Give me to drink. He asked for water. The woman said, Why do you a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink? Samaritans are half Jew and half Gentile and they have no dealings with one another, then or now.
Then she said to Him, The well is deep, and you have nothing to draw with. Finally Jesus said, If you knew who it is that asked of you to give him a drink, you would ask water of him. And Jesus said, Whosoever drinks this water shall thirst again, but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. The she said, Give me this water, that I thirst no more. You read and read and read, but you never read where Jesus got a drink. He started out saying, Give me to drink, but perhaps He never got one. But He got something elsea soul saved, and that quenched His thirst. That was greater than His physical thirst.
When Jesus cried on the cross, I thirst, I believe He thirsted for the souls of men more than anything. I don’t think you could give Jesus anything that would please Him more than to give Him yourself. 4. I Thirst--Unparalleled Suffering When He said, I thirst, it was not only a cry of insatiable love but a cry of unparalleled suffering. I would to God that I had the words of an angel to describe the sufferings of Jesus!
When He said, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? it was the suffering of the soul. When He cried, I thirst, it was the suffering of his tormented body.
Think for a minute now why Jesus was so thirsty. He was in the Upper Room and instituted the Lord’s Supper. After He went out of the Upper Room, Jesus walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, and all along the journey He preached. Chapters 14, 15 and 16 of John are a long discourse call the Paschal Discourse, and Jesus preached that between the Upper Room and the Garden of Gethsemane.
The Night before He was crucified, He preached at least three hours. Then after He preached, He went to the Garden. You know what happened there. He prayed. Then He would go back to the disciples, then pray again. He would fall on His face and go a little farther. Finally, the Bible explains how Jesus, being in agony and sorrow, prayed and cried, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. Then the Bible says He perspired. Not water, but drops of blood. Still no water.
All night long, after three hours of preaching and praying until His soul broke through His body and He literally perspired bleed from His pores still no water.
Morning comes and He stands before Pilate’s judgment hall. He is condemned to die. They put a cross on Him, and by about noon, He travels about a mile down the little narrow streets. He staggers under the load and the hot sun beats upon Him still no water.
For three long hours the hot sun of that land beat upon Jesus still no water.
All of a sudden, God pushes the sun back into oblivion and hangs a midnight shroud around the earth and Jesus hangs in darkness three more hours still no water. Would you not want a drink if you had not had one for twenty-four hours and you had preached a three-hour sermon, prayed until blood ran from your pores, been beaten all night, and dragged from one judgment hall to another, and hung six hours on a cross, three hours in the hot sun!
Out of the midst of all of this suffering, Jesus cried, I thirst. He suffered from physical and mental and spiritual pain. He suffered from the hands of men and from God and from Satan.
Let me tell you, Jesus suffered for you and for me! We will never know how deep was the anguish of the Son of God on that awful day.
5. I Thirst--the Cry of a Lost Soul Not only does it speak of unparalleled suffering, but it was the cry of a lost
soul. You read of this in chapter 16 of Luke. Jesus told of two men.
There was a poor man who lay at the rich man’s gate and he was a beggar. The dogs came and licked his sores. The rich man fared sumptuously every day.
I have often thought about his table. It was clothed in fine linen. He no doubt had wine goblets and all kinds of liquid. But one day that old beggar died and they wrapped him up in a piece of towsack, took him out to Potter’s Field and buried him without ceremony. That is what man saw. But, bless God, Heaven saw something else. Heaven sent angels for pallbearers and he was taken immediately into Paradise.
The rich man died and went to Hell. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. The cry of a lost soul in Hell is for water and for mercy. When Jesus cried, I thirst, He was suffering the pangs of Hell for every lost soul.
Thank God for such a wonderful Saviour!
Trust Christ Today
You have read the wonderful enlightening sermon by Dr. Tom Malone, The Cry of a Lost Soul. Jesus’ cry on the cross, I thirst, is the cry of a lost man in Hell. Those who die without Jesus Christ will thirst forever and ever with never a drop of water to drink. The rich man in Hell begged, Send Lazarus, that he may dip his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame (Luke16:24)
On the cross Jesus suffered the agony of thirst so that those who trust Him as Saviour will never thirst again. What a wonderful and blessed promise! Jesus’ death on the cross was full payment for our sins, and the Bible promised everlasting life to any and all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16 plainly says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Won’t you trust Him today? If you’re not sure that you’ve completely trusted Christ as Saviour, then make sure today. In your own words, tell Him, Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I do believe that You died for me. And here and now I do trust You as my Saviour. I am depending on You to take me to Heaven when I die. Amen.
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